* * *
Rain had sliced down out of a grey sky, soaking the cavalcade to the bone as they waited patiently to be off, sluicing from the armour of the knights and leaving pennants hanging raggedly. Thundering rain on cobbles muffled all sound more than a foot away, and Drault must have known that when he came.
Taking Lyram’s hand, Drault smiled without showing his teeth, a smile that never reached his eyes. ‘It is uneventful in the borderlands, I hear. I will pray to Ahura to keep it that way.’
And he widened his smile, teeth gleaming, but not a hint of warmth reaching his eyes. His grip tightened until Lyram feared his bones would surely crack.
Nothing more than that, and a prayer to Ahura for safekeeping which, while unusual, was not entirely nonsensical. Death, after all, was her realm; she had power to bring it or keep it. But he could not shake the memory of that fox’s smile, all predatory cunning.
* * *
Thanks for dropping by! Don't forget, this is a first draft, and as such won't be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I aim to have the first draft finished by the end of March. If you'd like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella Confronting the Demon.
More about In the Company of the Dead:
Lyram already crossed a prince, and now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.
Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.
As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.
Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.